The Commerce Tennis team has been practicing through poor conditions early this spring, but head coach John Allen believes his veteran team is more than ready to be competitive in 2013.
The Tigers return a host of experience this year, including 13 seniors – seven girls and five boys.
On the boys’ squad, Allen will look to seniors Dawson Knick, Jonathan Nichols and Lin Tong for leadership. Tong was an impact player for the Tigers in 2012, earning a spot on the second all-region doubles team.
Allen noted that doubles matches were Commerce’s strength last year, and hopefully will continue to improve in 2013. While the doubles teams are seasoned, the singles roster lacks experience.
“We have all new singles players this year and all of them are very consistent, so if we can transfer that into actual matches then we should be in good shape,” said Allen. “With consistent singles play and solid doubles play, we should be able to string some wins together.”
Five out of seven starters from the 2012 girls’ team are returning to the lineup – which Allen says is still undetermined.
“My focus so far has been trying to figure out the lineup,” he said. “I have tried a lot of different doubles combinations to get the lineup squared away. We have played a lot of matches against each other in order to be prepared for the first match. The other focus has been on positioning both in singles and doubles – basically, knowing where to be as the point progresses.”
Allen says his expectations are for the Tigers to be able to compete against anyone they play, and for them to improve as the season progresses.
“Last year, we got wins from all different positions,” added Allen. “We have a solid lineup. We can win a lot of matches if we can put it all together at the same time.”
The Tigers kick off the season today (Wednesday), on the road at East Jackson.